Installing a DCC decoder in a Hornby/Arnold 5-BEL

Click on each image for a more detailed view.

Arnold 5-BEL

This installation should be one of the easiest as the loco is DCC ready, but it isn't!

Manufacturers really do need to make greater efforts to make the inside of their locos more accessible for those who want to convert them to DCC operation. Getting the body off is a real challenge.

This install shows a DCC Concepts 6-pin decoder but any 6-pin decoder would also be suitable..

Getting the body off

To remove the body there are no screws as it is a clip on/off arrangement to the chassis. However, it is almost impossible to get between the body and chassis to release the body shell.

You will need finger nails and some strong (but not too thick) pieces of card or plastic to keep the body away from the chassis.

I eventually found that the best way to start the separation process was to gently pull the body away from the chassis at the back of the unit where there is a little bit of give. Then slide a finger nail along between the body and chassis and insert a couple of pieces of the card/plastic to keep them apart, especially in the middle where tere is a lug on the glazing mould which secures the body to the chassis.

Once one side has been separated, tackle the other side in a similar manner. Then try to pull apart the body from the chassis at the back of the unit.


Motor end of loco


Once inside you will find the blanking plug towards the rear of the unit. Gently remove the plug. This can be a little difficult as the plug sits snugly inside the cavity left in the upper part of chassis structure.


5-BEL with decoder fitted


Having identified pin 1, which is marked by a small white arrow on the chassis, firmly push the plug attached to the decoder into the socket, being careful not to bend the pins.

Place the unit on the programming track. All of the internal lights should come on automatically. Then test that the loco works as expected and program the loco number.

The decoder used in this installation came with a stay alive add-on, hence the long wires, but I could not find sufficient space within the loco to install this unit.

I also had some difficulty in getting the loco moving properly but this was overcome with running in and a little light oil on the worm gears above each bogie.

When all is working correctly replace the body, gently snapping it back into place on the chassis.



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